Houghton proposes new zoning district

HOUGHTON – Houghton is looking to create a new zoning district that would allow for redevelopment.

A goal from the city’s most recent master plan, the R-4 residential district would allow for the replacement or rehabilitation of existing buildings. According to the proposed ordinance, it is intended to encourage the renovation and conversion, or demolition, of “unsightly” housing or that houses in violation of property maintenance codes into multiunit dwellings or residential units.

The proposed district includes two sections of East Houghton: Ruby and Houghton avenues along Jasper Street split by Emerald Street, and the block bounded by Ruby and Houghton avenues and Pearl and Vivian streets.

The new district would require greater density and fewer parking spots. R-4 lots would require one parking spot per two bedrooms, versus two for dwellings.

Minimum lot sizes would be: 600 square feet per unit for efficiency residences, 900 for one-bedroom, 1,200 for two-bedroom, 1,500 for three-bedroom and 1,800 for four bedroom. Each additional bedroom would require 300 more square feet.

Noncontiguous parking lots must be within 500 feet. For on-site parking, any change to the footprint or new construction must provide parking in rear or side yards. If there are practical obstacles to rear parking, the Planning Commission may allow off-street parking in the front yard.

There must also be a 10-foot landscaped setback exclusive of access driveways on the front, back and side yards. At least 20 percent of the lot must be landscaped.

Councilman and Planning Commission member Mike Needham said public response to the proposals had been positive to neutral, with no negative responses.

Public hearings for both ordinances would be Nov. 30.